No rate hikes, weak commodity prices to hurt Australian dollar
Published on 31.01.2018 13:19

The Australian dollar is under pressure in today’s trading session after another poor round of disappointing inflation numbers cast doubt on a rate hike expected by the RBA in the coming months.

Quarterly CPI figures hit the market today at 0.4 percent against analysts’ expectations for a figure of 0.5 percent while the grossed up yearly figure came in at 1.8 percent against a consensus of 1.9 percent.

The figures still remain below the RBA’s target rate of between 2 and 3 percent and creates headache for the central bank as their ability to lift interest rates to cool down the housing market, among other things is in jeopardy.

“The latest inflation report should put to bed any consideration of a near-term interest rate hike by the Reserve Bank. Despite an increase in the tobacco excise and higher fuel and utility prices, annual inflation once again failed to reach the bottom end of the RBA’s inflation target.” Said Callam Pickering, APAC Economist for global job site Indeed.

“We haven’t yet seen any improvement in wage growth and until that materializes inflation will continue its disappointing run. Given the persistent weakness in wage growth we’d prefer to see some evidence of improvement before the RBA considers hiking interest rates.” He added.

The Australian dollar has gained over 5 percent since the start of the year against its US counterpart which many attribute to weakness in the US dollar rather than strength in the local currency.

With interest rates now expected on hold for the rest of the year and commodity prices falling, many see the current level of the Aussie dollar as temporary.

“The move up toward 80 cents has largely been driven by U.S. dollar weakness rather than Aussie dollar strength,” said Simon Doyle, Sydney-based head of fixed income and multi-asset at Schroder.

“We don’t see that as being something which is sustainable.” He added.

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